It’s hard not to wonder what would have happened if Alabama had lost its three games vs Georgia in the regular season, or even one. But it seems like Nick Saban and his players don’t really worry about the changes that may come, since they seem focused on winning championships in all sports.
The “2018 national championship” is a game that has been talked about for weeks. It will be played on Monday to determine the 2018 NCAA football champion.
Despite Alabama’s previous domination over Georgia, Alabama players dismissed any effect the Crimson Tide’s series dominance may have in their College Football Playoff national title game clash on Monday night.
Alabama defeated then-No. 1 Georgia 41-24 in the SEC title game a month ago, and the Crimson Tide then defeated the Dawgs in the CFP national championship game to round up the 2017 season. In the rivalry, Alabama has won seven consecutive games while Georgia coach Kirby Smart is 0-4 against Alabama’s Nick Saban.
“Georgia is going to come out and give it their all. They’re a fantastic team, and I don’t believe they’re having any mental or psychological issues that are preventing them from winning “Alabama linebacker Henry To’oTo’o expressed his thoughts. “Georgia, I believe, will play hard, quick, and physical, as they normally do. They’ll go about their business. Georgia is a fantastic team, and it’s up to us to adapt, execute, and play when the bell rings. We’re looking forward to the task.”
After transferring from Tennessee a year ago, this will be To’oTo’o’s fourth game versus Georgia, and he knows what to expect from the Dawgs.
“Georgia has always been big, quick, and tough… on every down, they want to hit you in the mouth,” said To’oTo’o, Alabama’s leading tackler with 106 total stops. “Being able to answer the bell, as I previously said, is a major task for us. I’m looking forward to playing them for the fourth time. It’s always one of those games that I make a note of on my calendar in order to play. I need to present myself in the best possible light. That’s true in every game, but Georgia has that additional fight in them, that dog in them that won’t let up and will continue to punch.”
Phidarian Mathis, a senior defensive lineman for Alabama, dismissed any notion that the Crimson Tide was in Georgia’s head.
“They come to play their best game, and we come to play our best game as well,” Mathis said. “As a result, I don’t really think about the past. I’m simply being honest about what we’re dealing with right now. I’m not sure what we’ve done in the past against such individuals. It’s a new year, and we’re playing with a new squad.”
In the SEC championship game, Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams recorded seven receptions for 187 yards and two touchdowns against a Georgia defense that had only allowed seven touchdowns in its 12 regular-season games.
“I think both sides are under a lot of strain,” Williams remarked. “Those players are under a lot of pressure to get the ‘W.’ We’re under a lot of pressure to defeat a team twice.”
With 52 quarterback sacks, Alabama is third in the country, while Georgia is fourth with 45. However, the Dawgs failed to tackle Alabama quarterback Bryce Young once in the first meeting, and Young ended with 421 yards passing, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.
“I think Bryce does a pretty excellent job of absorbing and digesting,” Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien said. “But it’s a totally other ball game on Monday night.” “It’s a huge undertaking. Coach Smart, Coach (Dan) Lanning, Coach (Will) Muschamp, and the rest of the defensive coaching staff are at the top of their game, and they have the players to back them up.”
In the first game, Alabama’s defense forced Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett into three interceptions, one of which Jordan Battle recovered 42 yards for a score. Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding pointed out that NFL clubs face one other twice in their division every year, so a repeat isn’t always a benefit or disadvantage for either team. Both sides will adjust things, according to Golding, but nothing will be entirely overhauled.
“I believe the most important thing is that what any quarterback sees is not what they need to receive every snap,” Golding said. “And I believe you’re trying to force him to make a choice about what coverage, front, and pressure he’ll use once he has the ball in his hands. I believe the issue is that he believes he’s getting this look in a pre-snap read, but then the ball is turned over and it’s a different coverage or pressure, or a new front. And now he has to think about it.”
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